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  1. Member
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    Feb 2010
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    Boise, Idaho
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    I'm a tight wad and want to run a Linux-based media center to hook up to my tv, stream music from the web (not through a wireless network), use it as a DVR, play DVD's and run emulators. I know that's a lot, and I guess the main thing I'm looking to get started is what is the best video card to throw in just so that I can hook it up to my TV. I'm sure this is covered elsewhere, but I'm not sure what to search by. Thanks for any help!
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  2. Get Slack disturbed1's Avatar
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    Any Nvidia card with VDPAU[1] support. Excellent video quality, plus hardware decoding, deinterlacing, detelecine, noise filter, and color correction. Our 2 weakest HTPC's can playback 1080p h264 streams using ~20-30% CPU. The more powerful machines mostly sit idle. It takes more CPU power to resize the fan art than it does to playback the actual video.

    For applications, look at MythTV, XBMC, or Freevo.

    We use MythTV for our server, and mostly MythTV for the frontends, along with XBMC now and then. XBMC (IMO) has a better interface compared to MythTV for playback of movies and music (MythTV's music interface - to be blunt - sucks*). For DVR usage, MythTV is a god. Since we mostly use the HTPCs to record and playback television, MythTV was the obvious choice.

    *The music interface to MythTV is undergoing a rewrite to match the aesthetics of the other interfaces.

    [1]
    http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/VDPAU
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VDPAU
    Linux _is_ user-friendly. It is not ignorant-friendly and idiot-friendly.
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  3. Member
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    Thanks for the info. Any better luck with a certain linux distro over others? I have no experience with throwing a video card into a linux machine. Any issues with nvidia?
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  4. Get Slack disturbed1's Avatar
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    Which ever distro you want to learn is the one you should use. Picking a better Linux Distro is like deciding which is better - Pepsi, Coke, Mountain Dew .... It's all opinion, and what ever you are most comfortable with. If you've never used Linux, or are a newbie get some Aspirin, and give it a shot

    There are distro's targeted towards the assumption of plug and play. For the most part, these work 50% of the time for 50% of the people, with 50% of the claimed features. Of course I use Slackware, which works 100% of the time for 10% of the people that put 2000% effort in.

    Check out mythbuntu, mythdora, LinHES (Knoppmyth) to get your feet wet with MythTV.

    Any issues with nvidia?
    That's a vague question. But - put card in. Install drivers. It works - does not crash. Is that what you meant?
    Linux _is_ user-friendly. It is not ignorant-friendly and idiot-friendly.
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  5. Member
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    Jan 2011
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    Island Off The US.
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    i use ubuntu(10.4) + VLC(current) pc specs P4-ht 2.80ghz(40$ebay) 2GIG ddr2 ram(32$ebay) older dell optiplex(i had but im sure u can find on ebay for 40-60) and an Nvid GeForce 8400GS(bought this card in nov for 45$ compusa) WinTV-1150 tunner(i think it was 63$ or sumthing liket that) 3 1tb seagate drives(89$x3 but you may not need that much space i allso use this box as network storage.) so like 160-240 for a custom DVR
    1080p/i fullySupported Over evga to HDMI cable on a Samsung LN37C550 37' LCD and i use an wireless kb/mouse combo to play every thing an what not also use vnc to set stuff up to record if im out working.
    runs grate over ethernet im sure wifi woud be ok for streaming if you didnt have anything runing on the network.
    and the support for installing cards varys on the card u buy nvid is good about keeping linux drivers up to date and usely if there are bugs or anything thay usely fix thim in the week or month. as for plug and play i usely buid the pc and do a fresh install of linux but on ubunut i know theres a card probe that will search for new hardware installed.
    anyway hope this helps.
    Last edited by pinginn; 7th Jan 2011 at 20:59.
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